05:41 GMT +323 October 2019
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    An unmanned US Predator drone

    US Knew Drones Provided Faulty Intelligence, Led to Civilian Massacres

    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth, File
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    Secret US government documents acquired by The Intercept showed that the Obama administration's preference for drone strikes took place despite knowledge that the intelligence they provided was faulty, leading to massacres which killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

    The US military faced "critical shortfalls of capabilities" in surveillance prior to executing drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen, secret documents acquired by the Intercept found.

    The Intercept website screenshot
    The Intercept website screenshot

    Poor quality of data collected by drones also contributed to hundreds of innocent civilian casualties in the Yemen and Somalia operations. The Intercept's documents also showed that drones often spent more time in transit rather than collecting surveillance.

    "Long distances to operating areas complicate the 'fixing' and 'finishing' [high value individuals]. Most objectives in Yemen are ~500km away, Somalia can be over 1000 km. Long transits consume ~50 percent of [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] flight time and complicate strike planning," the leaked document said.

    As a result, drones are not only used for data collection, which the leaked documents found inferior to human sources, but also spent as much as half their flight time in transit. The documents also showed that manned spy planes were responsible for most flights over Yemen even while drones were able to spend more time hovering over a target.

    The Intercept website screenshot
    The Intercept website screenshot

    In addition, drones provided limited intelligence as they had to be swarmed to one position during an airstrike, losing focus on their previous monitoring missions.


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    civilian casualties, drone strikes, The Intercept, Yemen, United States, Somalia
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